Most of the time all your hair needs is a little pampering. The natural oils are your most humble choice. It reminds me of my childhood days when oil treatment was an essential part of hair grooming. Having had the luxury of oil massage, my hair can be very grouchy without it.
3 Reasons Why Oil your Hair?
1. Improves blood flow to your scalp
Oiling hair is the most important ritual in traditional hair care. Oil massage increases blood flow to the scalp. The increased circulation brings additional oxygen and nutrients to the hair roots. As little as 5 minutes of head massage can make a significant difference in the health of your hair. Moreover the essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals present in the oil seeps in and nourishes your scalp, which is the bedrock of your hair.
2. Protects your hair from damage
When you shampoo, it absorbs water causing the outer layer of hair (cuticle) to lift up. When it dries, it shrinks back to its original state. The constant washing and drying stresses the cuticle, making it vulnerable to damage. In the long run your hair can become damaged and rough. This is especially relevant if you have long hair.
How does oiling hair help? Oil forms a protective sheath around your hair and this helps to reduce the wear and tear that happens during washing process. Plus, oil being hydrophobic (repels water) in nature limits the penetration of water into the hair, so the amount of water absorbed by the hair is less, and so is the damage.
3. Naturally conditions and detangles your hair
Oiling conditions and improves strength and elasticity of your hair. Even after shampooing, a minuscule proportion of oil remains in your hair, which is non-evident but it works to protect and nourish your hair. There would be no need to condition your hair after washing it, as the oil treatment has already done the job of conditioning, nourishing, and protecting it. Oil treatment helps reduce friction between the hair strands and makes detangling much easier.
Give your hair some pampering and your hair will give you that style!
Choosing the Right Oil
There are many options to choose from. Here are a few suggestions..
Cold pressed virgin coconut oil has a wonderful aroma of fresh coconut cream. This oil has an ability to penetrate the hair shaft and is great for both damaged and undamaged hair. High in saturated fatty acids, coconut oil is extremely moisturising and promotes healthy hair. In comparison to other oils it is less greasy – because of high tannin contents.
Coconut oil is solid at room temperature. You can liquefy it by standing it in warm water, or just rub about a teaspoon between your palms before use.
Best suitable for: soft, fine or oily hair
Sweet Almond Oil
Sweet almond oil is a light feeling and nourishing oil. The flavonoids and omega-6 fatty acids in almond oil controls shedding and promotes healthy hair growth. This oil also contains a high amount of vitamin E which helps to strengthen tiny capillaries of the scalp and therefore boosts circulation.
You can also use almond oil as a leave-in conditioner: apply a few drops on your freshly washed hair to seal the moisture and boost shine.
Best suitable for: dry, or brittle hair
Sesame oil is highly recommended in ayurveda due to its healing and nourishing properties. It’s commonly used as a base oil in many ayurvedic preparations. It’s packed with some amazing fatty acids – oleic and linoleic fatty acids. These offer great skin softening and skin regenerating qualities.
This oil also contains high amounts of phytosterols and polyphenols, which render anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antioxidant qualities.
Best suitable for: dry and damaged hair
Jojoba oil is highly beneficial for people with oily scalp. It closely resembles the scalp sebum, the oil produced by our skin. This oil penetrates into the skin and acts as an excellent moisturiser. It also helps to loosen the sebum in the hair follicle, cleansing the scalp and removing the clogged debris.
Plus, jojoba oil contains some lovely phytosterols, which can help reduce inflammation and itching, and can be calming for angry and sensitive scalp.
Best suitable for: sensitive scalp and fine thinning hair
How to apply?
Apply evenly on the scalp and massage gently with the pads of your fingers. Finish by running fingers through your hair. It shouldn’t take more than 10 to 15 minutes. Leave on for an hour, or leave it overnight for better conditioning. Make this practice a form of meditation. Just focus on the nourishing process and imagine your hair getting healthier, stronger and shinier.
How much to apply?
The amount may vary according to your hair thickness and length. For medium length hair, about 1 to 2 tablespoons should be sufficient to cover the scalp and hair. Rough indicator is you should be able to tell there is oil in the hair, but it should not be soaked in oil.
Which one to buy?
Some experimenting can help to determine which oil works best for you. When buying, the best ones to use are cold pressed pure oils. Cold pressed oils basically means that no heat was used in the extraction process, thus leaving all the goodness intact.